Boomkat Product Review:
At this point it’s hard to separate Odd Future frontman Tyler, The Creator’s music from the hype that has come to surround him in the few short months preceding this album's release. His weirdly charismatic, cartoon personality has probably overshadowed his music, and you can be sure that there are plenty more people who know his face (and shorts) than have managed to get through the whole of his sprawling, controversial debut, ‘Bastard’. He’s an enviably smart kid mind, and though he’s only twenty years old (a point that is triumphantly shouted loud and proud in any editorial scrawl about the dude) ‘Goblin’ through its insecurity and pointed childishness, is just an impeccably conceived record. While his detractors just want to highlight the fact that the guy dresses in shorts, swears more than a Brummie bricklayer and likes to take Super Soakers to festivals; through the barrage of offensiveness, parodies and murder allegories you'll find the kind of internal struggles most of us grew up with. The wounds are still fresh as daisies, and Tyler’s resentment, vitriol and poison are still corrosive when he spits. ‘Goblin’ is a concept album which finds its young protagonist in a warts ‘n all ‘therapy’ session, and over the course of an hour he exorcises nightmares and fantasies alike, setting his growing pains to some genuinely inspired production. Much has been made of Tyler’s obsession with the Neptunes, and ‘Goblin’ absolutely reminds me of the first time I gripped Kelis’s shockingly good (and still underrated) ‘Kaleidoscope’ LP back in 1999. The brutally minimal, spacious beats, the side-swiping storyline, it’s all there, but manages somehow to pay tribute to Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo without ever sounding like a carbon copy. By the time the album’s up you’ll have formed an opinion one way or the other – this isn’t the album that’s going to save rap music, and at times I’m not even certain it’s rap at all. While Tyler professes a love for nu-school hero Wacka Flocka Flame there’s little here that sounds as club heavy or drugs ‘n liquor dumb as the current mixtape set, but I have the sense that - if there was - it would sound disingenuous and ill-fitting. ‘Goblin’ is closest to a prog record (storylines, extended multi-faceted tunes etc etc), but maybe the first prog album rooted in the horrible truth of growing up in the migraine generation; the constant let downs, the over-exposure to media and the bulging, lingering, disgusting depression of not knowing what the f*ck is going to happen and where it’s going to take you. It doesn't offer instant gratification, it's not an album full of ‘Yonkers’ time and time again – and it’s definitely not horrorcore (grow up, haters). You’re all gonna need to listen carefully and listen more than once, and yeah, you’re gonna need to listen as loud as is humanly possible. ‘Goblin’ might just be the most important record of 2011, and whatever you think of it, it’s surely going to be the record that lodges itself in your mind more than just about anything else I can think of. A huge recommendation.